I actually got good advice from a dr. about this problem!!!!!
You should type up a 1 page resume of your medical history. Be concise & brief, just list surgeries, current (and past) meds, procedures, and any allergies or problems with your meds. This should be well-organized with everything in chronological order, & be sure to date everything.
Save this on your computer so that you can up date as needed.
Hand a copy to the new dr. & you have one in your hand when you see him. Go over it with him if necessary. All drs. ( & staff) will be impressed with your skills at organizing! Many drs. are not very organized.
Colorectal (Colon) Cancer Questions
Shouldn't the Doctors know my history?
Asked by BeckyTice on Monday, March 20, 2017
Shouldn't the Doctors know my history?
Every time I go to a new doctor, I have to fill out a medical history. If they don't ask me to sign a medical release to send to the previous doctors, I give them a copy of my medical records and history. I spend hours getting this ready..... then the day arrives, the doctor walks in.... clueless. Why don't they at least skim over a patient's history? Should I stop wasting my time?
20 Answers from the Community
I echo @Molly72's suggestion -- I do that for myself and for my partner, who has MS.
The American Society of Clinical Oncology has a template here:
Here's a shorter template from File of Life:
Sounds like great advice!! I stay within the same medical system so the doctors have access to all of my medical information. I am fortunate that new doctors have always educated themselves before I go in.
My husband, though, goes to the VA. Even though he stays within his medical system, doctors do not review his records before seeing him. I think I will work on a brief medical history for him. Might save him lots of grief.
I do give them all a one page summary. That's something they taught me to do years ago.... as a matter of fact, I think I learned that on this site.
In addition to the summary, I provide them with the last reports [pathology, blood and scans] as well as the operative notes..... I don't load them down but if the CEA is up.... I highlight it on the summary and put the test results with it.
I had an appointment with a gastro-enterologist [sp] about the thing that is growing in my belly. I have no belly button.... I listed the surgery on the summary.... along with the name, address, phone and fax number for the surgeon and the hospital.... added a copy of the operative notes. The new doctor [moved to Arizona] does an obligatory exam.... and is surprised that I don't have a belly button.... he asks me "what happened". I swear I felt like saying "duh"
That's what I mean.... aren't I interesting enough or is it based on the quality of my insurance?
I even had, lol, a doctor ssshhh me after he asked me why I had come in because he was busily typing into his pc.
In any profession, including medicine, 20-25% of the practitioners make a lion's share of the money. In any graduating class, including those getting medical degrees, 50% of the class are average students or less. We still call all those graduates doctors.
I recently had a bee in my bonnet anout getting a dermatologist to give me a skin check. Doctor #1 couldnt have found an elephant in a haystack. Doctor #2 was worse because he shared photos of elephants he couldnt find in haystacks. Doctor #3 refused to see me unless I pre-agreed to submit to any and all procedures #3 might order. I refused despite the staff's assurance that I could always change my mind. Doctor #4 found a cancer in a not raised dark spot about as big as the zero in that 50%.
Then on to find a surgeon to remove the crazed cells. That took 5 more visits including to one who literally couldnt tell left from right and was offering to remove a spot on my shin ... of which leg?
I dont want to fail to mention the surgeon who thought it was neither practical nor efficient (for him, I suppose) to look at skin layer by layer until clear margins were obtained. He wanted to take a "scoop" of skin he called an "ellipse". I later found out I was looking for MOHS surgery which is exactly taking skin layer by layer until clear margins are obtained.
I should also mention the ****head who told me that insurance would not pay for MOHS so he needed to take a scoop.
If a doctor is so stupid or so innundated that he or she cant remember about me, the reason he or she gets paid, I am off to find a different doctor in whom I can actually place my trust.
I saw a super big shot in his field a few times. He was so impressive that I asked him how in the world he could remember my name and other details when he had such a big caseload? He answered simply "I cant but I take a moment to go over the chart before I enter a room." That is why, in a truly good doctor's office, you will see a slot on the door which holds either a paper chart or a tablet which holds the history of the person inside the waiting room.
You are paying a doctor to pay attention and to teach you how to help yourself even if he or she has to help you to do it.
This very thing drives me NUTS. I go to the trouble to get the records sent in advance, I expect Doctor Doogie to know my name and why I am there today. Not ask me, so, what have you had done in the past? I don't even bother to fill out their forms, I put my name and basic info and write in, refer to charts.
My doctors do what Geekling recommends---quickly look at the chart before they come into the room. That's why the concise list at the top of your one page resume is such a good thing to do.
I go to a large NIH-associated research clinic and hospital which is a teaching hospital, rather than private practice.
If it's your regular oncologist you're talking about then I understand that they run like an assembly line, most of them anyway. My first med onc always looked at my record and checked any scans that might have been done. Then he'd come in and check me out and ask how I was feeling. When I had a scan, he'd pull it up on the screen and go over it with me. I really liked that about him. Now my new one, she doesn't do half as much. She's never gone over the scan with me just told me the results and I always wondered if she ever looked at it herself or just read the report.
They see so many patients in a day, that unless you've been there a long time, they probably don't even remember who you are. This is medicine today! Not like the old days!!!
Take care, Judy
I have found out that having a neatly typed list will only help you fill out the forms. Most Dr.s will not even see that list as it will not be taken at the desk. It will only serve as a guide to filling out the paperwork. And that paperwork is filled out every time you see the Dr. not only just the first time. The most medical history I have ever been asked to fill out is the last 10 years. Family history is more detailed I have 5 siblings keeping up with their health records is difficult even though my brother is a nurse. One thing that is really important is to keep track of your symptoms.
I am so fortunate. I go every 2 weeks to see my oncologist. Half the time, I see the nurse practitioner, but regardless of who, there are typed notes for the particular visit that the team has made before they see me (and we've been seeing one another since 7/2013). When I had to go to a gastro doctor in the same system, she had spent quite some time going over my records. She had questions to ask me based on what she saw in the charts, but I felt comfortable that she had spent 10-20 minutes reviewing my history before ever seeing me. The next time I get a survey to complete about my visit, I am going to tell the powers that be just how lucky I am and how much I appreciate the way UTSW insists their doctors do business.
If you go to a health system rather than a private practice doctor, they usually have electronic records, which means the records are in the computer able to be viewed by all the specialists without you filling out histories.
If they don't have electronic records, you shouldn't have to fill out detailed papers for the same doctor more than once. Do what Greg does (refer them to your chart or to your typed list), and give your typed list to the doctor himself. At our age, many people have trouble writing, and you could pretend you do, too.
I have arthritis in my fingers, so it's hard for me to write very much. When we check in for our appointments, they give us one sheet of paper stamped with our name etc., and a list of symptoms for the patient to put a check mark beside if we've experienced them since the last visit. That keeps us from having to write a lot, which I appreciate.
Let me clear up a couple of things. I have been running into this problem since all this began... I started at George Washington University Hospital, then Johns Hopkins. Both are teaching hospitals. My oncologist at the local hospital knew my name and discussed my tests with me. I moved to Arizona. Now I'm going to MD Anderson.... that's where the doctor didn't know I had no belly button.
Twice I've grown something in my belly. The first time it was my colon cancer growing where the robot had been. Now I have something else growing [or I hope it's something else].... it's bigger and I've gained about 12 pounds since it started growing. I sit in a cold sterile examining room in an uncomfortable chair and I am ignored when I ask questions.
I HAVE NEVER EVER SEEN ONE SCAN. I go get the reports for myself and I read them so I know what these doctors are talking about. It's been that way since the beginning. I have complained, I have discussed this with the nurses, NPOs, and my PCP. I have tried to discuss this with the doctors themselves but they ignore me.
I have to admit.... I'm frustrated because once again... something is going on that I don't understand and I am afraid.
I appreciate all your replies.... I am happy that I am not alone and you are helping me figure out how to correct the situation. Thank you so very very much.
Try not to worry because your current doctor didn't know why you didn't have a belly button---he might not have had time to read details on your history, plus even if he did read it, he could have been wanting to make conversation to get to know you. Usually the best time to ask questions is after the doctor examines you and talks to you about what's next, etc., which usually clarifies some things, so then you have less to ask.
I'm sorry you're anxious and scared, and I hope things get better soon. Familiarity with the doctor will help things improve, because it takes time to get to know each other. Remember he's trying to get to know you also. Best wishes.
From here on in, ask for a CD of every scan you get. This usually means asking at the front desk and filling out a form. The CDs come with reading software built in. Keep your own set of records, as complete as you can get them, and have a copy with you whenever you see a new doctor.
Info falls through the cracks. I'm also a caregiver, and I have provided doctor's office notes and test results that should have been conveyed by one MD to another but that weren't. Fortunately, my own medical team is well-coordinated. Even though my partner has listed our PCP on her HIPPA forms, some test results are still not getting through. Fortunately, I ask for them so I can provide copies. That's not the way it should happen, but it is what it is.
@BeckyTice, are you going to Houston to MD Anderson or do they have satellite hospital in AZ? My hospital, UTSW, is in the same group, but I have never been treated except with the greatest respect. My oncologist goes over my scans with me every time. We often do not agree with the radiologist report.
I do sometimes request my scans in DVD. I haven't actually tried to look at them.
If you're coming to Texas anyway, maybe you would want to consider changing hospitals. I know MD Anderson is one of the very top ranked hospitals, but after reading how you're being treated, I have to wonder why.